Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Weeks 38-41: Nanowrimo 2016 - What Happened?

Michael Salsbury
Back in November, I promised to post my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) progress here each week. Then, after that first week, I stopped.

To make a long story short, I wrote nothing for most of the month. Then I got past that mental block and began writing late in the month. This time I hit a block in the story itself. I didn't know how I wanted to move it forward. I also realized that it was not the story I wanted, and I didn't like what it had become. To reach the goal of 50,000 words of fiction, I resorted to a tactic that has helped me in the past. I began interviewing my characters and asking them about the story events. Soon, I hit 50,000 words and completed NaNoWriMo... but the story itself stopped.

I realized that I had been attempting to tell a story that was well beyond my current skill level. I can still see the story I wanted to tell in my head, but what made it onto the proverbial page was a far cry from that story. This frustrated me and ultimately made me walk away from it.

A few years ago, I attended a writing seminar given by New York Times Bestselling Author Michael A. Stackpole. He told us that while we were learning from NaNoWriMo and benefiting from it, we should continue to particpate. If at some point we stopped learning from it and weren't deriving any benefits, we should consider stopping. This year, I think I've reached that point. I don't plan to participate in 2017.

The main reason I participated in the past was that it encouraged me to write fiction at least once each year. Since starting this blog, I have been writing more than ever - even if it's not as often as I planned. This year, doing NaNoWriMo felt more like an unpleasant burden than an enjoyable activity. I enjoyed the stories I've written here much more.

So I've walked away from this year's NaNoWriMo with a renewed commitment to this "story a week" project. I'm enjoying it, learning more from it, and generating more fiction from it than from NaNoWriMo. So while I am grateful and appreciative of what NaNoWriMo has done for me in the past, I think it is time to take Stackpole's advice and walk away. That doesn't mean I won't return to it someday, just that it might be a while. As long as I continue to keep posting stories here, there's little need to create them there.

With that in mind, the next story is already written and will appear automatically on December 24. Call it a Christmas present, or just a long overdue post, whichever you prefer.

About the Author

Michael Salsbury / Author & Editor

In his day job, Michael Salsbury helps administer over 1,800 Windows desktop computers for a Central Ohio non-profit. When he's not working, he's writing, blogging, podcasting, home brewing, or playing "warm furniture" to his two Bengal cats.


Post a Comment